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Staying informed

Tom Boyd

The war in Iraq is on. As I see it, we have two responsibilities as Americans. The first is to support the men and women of the armed forces, giving them all the help we can and hoping for their safety.The second responsibility we have as Americans is to stay well informed.Watching Fox News pep rallies is not enough (unless you think of war as a really cool football game).Flipping over to MSNBC for off-the-cuff commentary from exhausted and irresponsible anchor people is also not enough.Surfing to the CNN Web site won’t do the trick. And if your idea of developing a moral template is going to watch Bruce Willis in Tears of the Sun, then you’re lost beyond repair.Still, as Americans we have the opportunity to view any media source we wish even if it’s not mainstream. There are plenty of news sources out there that can fill in holes where major news networks leave gaping lies of omission.As J.P. Sartre used to say (and I paraphrase), “If you really want to know what something is, you have to look at it from all possible angles.”No single news source is enough to get a clear picture of what’s happening in America’s invasion (ooops, sorry, “liberation”) of Iraq. Most people know about The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the London Times, the Los Angeles Times etc but these sources are not enough to satisfy a curious mind.For those people who want to get a full picture of what’s going on, there are ways to do so (in this country, anyway).So if you feel like you’re getting bombarded with pro-American war sensationalism, or if you feel like lies of omission may be passing by without notice, then check out these news sources and become an informed citizen:Al Jazeera television, widely thought to be the voice of the enemy, is not nearly as anti-American as everyone seems to think. Take a look at what they’re doing on http://english.aljazeera.net/, where you’ll find that their spin on truth may be America’s one hope for changing the Arab mind, unless you think Bruce Willis can do it alone (send your thanks to the sultan of Qatar, by the way, for the creation of real news in the Middle East). If you log on to the English language version of the site, however, you’ll find that someone by the name of Siamoon Bhuiyan has cyber-terrorized and taken over the URL, probably with ignorant, pro-American motives.If you’re tired of never-ending surface coverage of demonstrations (30 seconds of pro-/anti-war pictures and now back to you in the studio, Bob), watch C-SPAN for down-to-earth arguments from anti-war veterans, as well as pro-war discussions from politicians and generals who have been in the field.C-SPAN also shows unedited, translated segments from Dubai TV in the United Arab Emirates and Al Jazeera from Qatar in the evenings.Also check out the World Link TV Web site, where everyone from Al Manar (financed by the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah guerrilla group) to Israeli TV has a say.Mixed with a little coffee and some good hours logged onto the Internet, an intelligent American may come away with a well-qualified world view and an informed understanding of our enemies, our friends, and the millions of people caught in the middle. qTom Boyd is interested in hearing what you think. Feel free to call, comment, question or write him at (970) 390-1585 or tboyd@vailtrail.com.


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